"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all." ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

"I write when I dream and I dream when I write."

~Khadija Craddock

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spookacular Words

cantrip \ KAHN-trip \  , noun;

1. Chiefly Scot.  A magic spell; trick by sorcery.
2. Chiefly British.  Artful shamming meant to deceive.
Used properly, it may be possible to drive a vampire or garou into frenzy with this cantrip . -- Steve Long, Ethan Skemp, Combat
And before I knew it her arms were around me, and she smelt of lavender and delicious silk, and her voice in my ear was whispering something—a cantrip , I thought, with a twist of surprise, a cantrip, just like the days in Lansquenet—and then I looked up and it wasn’t Maman there at all.  -- Joanne Harris, The Girl with No Shadow: A Novel

Origin:  Cantrip  is of uncertain origin, but it is most likely a variation of the Old English word calcatrippe  which referred to both a plant and a type of iron ball used to block calvary in warfare.

teratoid   \TER-uh-toid\ , adjective:

Resembling a monster.

They wandered, amazed, through street after street of these teratoid villas and they concluded that the architecture of Knokke-le-Zoute was unique and far more disrespectful to the eye than that of any other maritime settlement they had ever seen, worse, by far, than Brighton or Atlantic City.
-- Jean Stafford, "The Children’s Game," The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford, 1958

Later she rechecked the engraving and was appalled to see that Lincoln had lain on what appeared to be a teratoid, golden oak, four-poster bed.
-- William Manchester, The Death of a President, November 20-November 25, 1963

Teratoid was coined in the 1870s. The root terat- is a Greek combining form that means "indicating a monster."